Exercise your right to vote

_Caitlyn_Hansbury_, _Opinions_Editor_

 In today’s highly political world, there is always some sort of discussion or argument occurring about who did what in Congress or about a new law being passed. Amongst the discussion, there is also a lot of complaining that occurs due to disagreement with the decisions made by elected officials. Despite almost everyone having some type of political opinion, only a portion of the population is registered to vote, and an even smaller portion shows up to the polls come voting day. When it comes to government, whether it be at the local level or the national level, everyone is a critic, but at the end of the day, there is very little change. As citizens, we have the power to make a change if there is something that we do not like. Here are five reasons that you should make an effort to cast your vote on election day.

  1. Voting is a right and a privilege – many people consider voting to be a fundamental right; however, it is often taken advantage of and forgotten about. As Americans, we often forget that not everybody has the right to vote in elections and choose who governs and represents them. We have fought hard for the right to vote and have an active hand in choosing who runs our government, but many other nations do not have this right. Don’t let that hard work go to nothing by not showing up on election day.  
  2. Become an informed citizen – a big part of voting is making an educated decision about who is the best person for the job. Performing your own research and deciding who you think is the best candidate for councilman, representative, senator, president, etc. allows you to learn about the policies and passions of those running for office. Even if the candidate you chose does not win, you have still done your part and are up to date on what is going on in the community and world around you.
  3. To stand up for what you believe in – everyone has something they are passionate about, whether it be the environment, education, or something else. Participating in elections and casting your vote allows you to make your opinion count and make yourself heard. Regardless of how small you think your voice may be, you can take pride in the fact that you made a difference in the community.
  4. The right to complain – many people complain about the decisions our elected officials make because they may or may not agree with policies enacted or certain decisions made. However, if one did not participate in an election then they should not complain about decisions made by politicians.
  5. It’s your civic duty! – It is very well known that people in the 18-24-year-old demographic historically have very low voter turnouts come voting day. Although young people are generally very opinionated, it is clear that they don’t follow through with their opinion by casting a ballot. Casting a vote allows you to make a change and protect your beliefs – plus, you get a pretty cool sticker.

Many people only think of voting when it comes time for a major election, such as presidential elections, but often forget or don’t care about the smaller local and state elections that occur every year. These smaller elections are just as important, if not more important, to participate in because they affect the everyday life of you and the people who live in your town, county, or state. Casting a vote allows you to make a change and protect your beliefs. So the next time voting day comes around, go to your local precinct, cast your ballot, and make your voice matter. I can promise you that it won’t be a mistake.